There are many ways to pacify the Pitta which becomes elevated with the oppressive heat of summer. Some are good for you, like cooling teas and juicy cooling fruits, others are unhealthy, like air conditioning, especially turned down low, which attacks the surface of the body with the equivalent of arctic wind, just when the pores are open and vulnerable from sweating, or iced beverages, which over-chill the gut, damaging our digestive fire/Agni, that is the basis of the immune system.
How you feel about weather and climate can, along with other data, be a guide to your constitutional or body-mind type, called Dosha in Ayuveda. It can also suggest which dosha is the most elevated, or imbalanced. For example, my red haired intense patient , who is a Pitta-Kapha, was describing preferring a vacation in winter to a cold, dry climate, such as the mountains of Colorado, over a vacation in Summer to anywhere warm and tropical, like Hawaii, and that, when it comes to hot weather, she can tolerate dry desert heat much more than humidity. This makes perfect sense, as Pitta will always prefer cool over heat, since Pitta is itself the manifestation of fire in a human body-mind.
As to the preference of dryness over humidity, here there are two factors. On the one hand, Pitta is not just fire, but fire and water, in the sense that it manifests in the body through firy liquids, such as digestive enzymes or hydrochloric acid. The human equivalent of the molten lava deep below the surface of the earth. So Pitta types will tolerate dry heat better than wet heat.
On the other hand, Kapha, being the manifestation of water and earth, is by nature wet, or damp, as we say in Chinese Medicine. (It is also by nature solid, like earth, and resides in the deep solid structures of the body, like the bones, and Kapha types will be thick boned and with large mounds of flesh and thick fleshy muscles and lips with large watery eyes) So Kapha types will always tend to prefer dry over damp. While Kapha is, like all unheated water, by nature cold, since she is a Pitta-Kapha, its the dislike of moisture that her dual dosha provides he with, or shall we say the preference for dryness.. So as a Pitta-Kapha, she prefers cold, first, because Pitta is her primary dosha, and dry, second, since her two doshas have that in common. So, Pitta-Kapha will have two strikes for dry weather, and one strike for cool weather, which takes more importance if the person’s ratio of Pitta to Kapha is high. If she were a Kapha-Pitta, on the other hand, she might prefer dry hot weather first and tolerate cold weather, so long as it was dry, as in the desert, but not wet, as in the north midwest.
In the Summer season everyone’s Pitta elevates quite naturally. Now if you are a Vatta-Kapha or Kapha-Vatta, this is not so bad, and you may really enjoy the heat of summer. Even if you are a Vatta-Pitta you may enjoy the heat, provided its moist heat, which really relaxes your cold dry stiffness nicely. But, as my guru used to say, “too much of anything is good for nothing,” so anyone’s Pitta can become un-healthfully elevated in Pitta season from late Spring through early Fall. But if you are a Pitta dominant, especially if you know you dislike heat, or get headaches in the sun, or sunburn easily, or become irritable and feel unbearably hot when others are not really suffering, then you will have to take a healthy Pitta pacifying diet and lifestyle in this season
Lifestyle Advice for keeping Pitta pacified in Summer.
1. Avoid excessive sun. If you sunburn easily, that is a strong indicator of natural Pitta, especially if red headed. Another indicator of natural Pitta dominance is that you get headaches from the sun. Pitta resides in the crown of the head, so if sun creates discomfort there, then you have to avoid it. If you have to walk somewhere seek the shade of buildings and trees. Use a fan to keep your home or office cool.
2. Take your exercise in cool shady places, like the park, early in the morning or around sunset. If you go to the beach find a shady spot or bring an umbrella. Cool off in the sea, but be careful about the sun.
2. Wear light cool loose clothing of natural fibers like cotton or linen. Wear light cooling colors like white, blue, or green.
3. Massage your scalp with coconut oil when its very hot, or when you go to the beach. Once a week take an oil massage with coconut oil, or Pitta pacifying oil from the Kerala Ayurveda website Oilbath.com . At night, massage a little ghee/clarified butter onto your eyelids. Ghee is very cooling
4. Bathe with cool water or at least end your shower with cool water on your head and neck. Using cooling essential oils like rose, jasmine, lavender
5. During the day if its very hot, wash your face with cool water. Agni, which is fire, collects in the eyes. Apply cool water to face and eyes, even a cold washcloth to the back of the neck, or some cold water on the top of the head into the scalp is very pitta pacifying. During or after exercise, especially, get cold water on the top of your head and the back of your neck.
6. Fill a spray bottle with rose water and spray on the face
7. Surround yourself with freshly cut flowers
8. Stay cool mentally by meditating and learning to loosen and unwind your natural intensity.
9. Practice letting go by letting other people have their way even when you know they are wrong. See what that feels like inside.
10. Cultivate a Yoga or Tai Qi practice that is helps you unwind and let go. Pittas love control and benefit by uncontrolling.
Diet Advice to Pacify Pitta in Summer
2. Hydrate with naturally cooling beverages like water, coconut water, yogurt drinks, cow’s milk.
3. All sweet, bitter, and astringent tasting foods pacify Pitta.
4.Almost all fruits pacify pitta, moreso sweet fruits than sour fruits. (Sour increases pitta)
Enjoy sweet fruits in summer like banana, fig, berries in season, watermelon, other melons, grapes, stone fruits that are sweet. Many of these fruits have some astringent taste, too, but pomegranate and persimmon are especially so.
5. Bitter tasting vegetables pacify pitta. Steamed, quick boiled, and stir fried are the best methods for Pitta. Barbecue in moderation. Naturally cooling vegetables are cucumbers, salad, raw veggies, and summer squash. This is the time of year to eat more raw vegetables. But Vata types still must be cautious with raw.
6. Use Pitta pacifying spices like Mint, Coriander, Basil, Tulsi, Fennel, Cardamom, Mango Powder/Amchur, Pomegranite Seeds, Turmeric.
7. Instead of Big Gulps drink Pitta pacifying tea with Cardamom, Tulsi, Licorice, Cinnamon, and Sandalwood. R-U-Ved Pro Pitta tea has all these ingredients in one. But any combination will do. Cinnamon is warming by itself, but its very sweet, which pacifies pitta.
8. Make home made sodas with mineral water and lime or mineral water with a little bit of juice.
copyright eyton shalom july 2014 san diego ca all rights reserved use with permission